I rather enjoy sitting in from of our cute little stove (wood-burning for heat) in the evenings, after the work day is done, watching the flames flickering around the logs.
I must say, however, that I didn't at all enjoy watching the flames leaping out of the vents of my brand new oven.
I never did like things out of place.
I've used this oven 3 times:
1. I did the pre-use, clean cycle recommended by the manufacture (I'm a good girl, I am!)
2. I made a quiche.
3. I made some little pastries (post to follow)
I did not get the expected "odor, please have area well-ventilated" when I did the cleaning.
I did get an odor "what the hell is that smell?" when I made the quiche.
Last night it was only on for 20 minutes.
I turned the oven off, served the pastries, poured a couple glasses of wine and sat down to relax.
I heard a little 'pop', glanced at the oven and saw flames.
Fortunately they put themselves out.
Still, it will be, at least, 2 more lifetimes before I use the oven 'unattended'.
The thought of programming it to turn itself on, cook something for 4 hours, then turn itself off, while I'm off somewhere and the girls dogs are quietly napping in front of it, sends chills….
And I was just gearing up to do some actual, serious baking (bread, perhaps?!?) Instead I'm off to Darty tomorrow, photos in one hand, guarantee in the other. I decided that if I'm there, with pictures, it will be much easier to explain.
The problem, as best mon mari can figure out from just looking (mustn't touch, guarantee, you know), is that there was a short in the fan.
I'll be keeping the fire extinguisher (which I tracked down and unpacked today) close the next time (and many after) that I use it.
Of course, it will also be nice when we have running water in the kitchen….
I'm going to a party!
Since it's a spring party, rather than a summer picnic, and my weather has been a bit gray and dismal, I'm bringing Italian comfort food: risotto.
I always have a small package of Prosciutto (or similar) in my fridge. It will usually keep for a month or two, so it's great emergency food.
Pair that with some cannellini from the pantry, a bit of Parmesan, and stir it into some simmering Arborio rice. In about 25 minutes one has the perfect 'last resort' meal.
Risotto with Prosciutto and Cannellini
3/4 cup Arborio rice, or other rice specifically for risotto – Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
1/2 cup dry, white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat. Finely chop onion. In medium sauce pan heat butter; add 1/2 of the onion and sauté until transparent. Add rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until rice has white center. Add white wine and stir.
When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/2 cup of stock, stir. (No need to stir constantly but do stir from time to time.) When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/2 cup and continue adding 1/2 cup at a time and stirring. Before adding the last 1/2 cup taste a few kernels of rice. They should be just 'al dente' – slightly resistant to the tooth, but fully cooked. If more stock is needed add it 1/4 cup at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed. At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff – there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold it's shape on a plate. Add the Parmesan and the condimenti, stir well, pour into a bowl or risotto platter and serve immediately.
It will continue to absorb liquid and the leftovers (if any) will be quite stiff.
The risottos that we have eaten in northern Italy have all been served in soup plates (flattish bowls) and eaten with a spoon – not a fork.
3.5oz (100gr) Prosciutto or other ham
1 rib celery
15oz (450gr) white beans, (cannellini), drained and rinsed
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs chicken stock
1 tbs olive oil
Chop celery and carrot. Heat oil in small skillet. Add the rest of the onion, celery, carrot and sauté until tender, Roughly chop ham and add to onions/celery. When vegetables are tender and ham is lightly browned add tomato paste, stock and drained beans. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer until heated through. Keep warm until needed for risotto.
I think a party is just what I need – see ya!